Bills rookie Cody Ford has fine reduced; fan-raised money donated to charity

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills rookie Cody Ford's fine for an illegal blindside hit was reduced to less than a quarter of its original amount, the offensive lineman tweeted Thursday.

Originally fined $28,075 for his hit on defender Jacob Martin during Buffalo's AFC wild-card loss to the Houston Texans, Ford appealed the decision and won, earning a new punishment of $4,211.

Both the penalty and its ensuing fine were met with near-universal criticism last month; the penalty stalled a critical drive in overtime and knocked Buffalo out of field goal range. Once the original fine was announced, fans started a GoFundMe campaign to help Ford pay the amount, raising $3,870 -- which Ford said was donated to charity.

The call was widely panned because the hit seemed tame by NFL standards; Ford did not launch into Martin, whose body appeared to be facing Ford's direction at the time of the impact. However, Ford was coming back toward the line of scrimmage and initiated contact with his shoulder, drawing the penalty.

On third-and-9 in overtime against Houston on Jan. 4, Bills quarterback Josh Allen scrambled 4 yards to the Texans' 38-yard line to bring up fourth down -- which became third-and-24 after the 15-yard penalty on Ford. Buffalo failed to convert from there, punted and ultimately lost on a game-winning Texans field goal.

A second-round pick out of Oklahoma, Ford started 15 games at right tackle in 2019. In his tweet announcing the fine reduction Thursday, he reiterated that he disagrees with the penalty.